College of the Desert’s theater department takes on Shakespeare

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The Chaparral

The cast of "the complete works of Shakespeare (abridged)" top row Cameron Marrihew, Sangrae Cho, Nicholas Gamboa, Aaron Ortega. bottom row: Austin Berry, Maricela Sandoval, Bianca Lopez, Leslie Robles.

Alexis Carranza, Staff Reporter

Things that come to mind when you think of Shakespeare: drama, love, daggers and poison, but what about a rubber chicken?

College of the Desert’s theater department will be debuting their rendition of the comedic parody, “The Complete Works of Shakespeare (Abridged)” on March 13.

Under the helping hand of Janet Miller, the theater instructor at COD, 20-year-old Maricela Sandoval will be making her directing debut.

Sandoval, who has an 8-year theater background, has worked behind the scenes before. In COD’s production of the comedy, “Inspecting Carol,” Sandoval worked as stage manager.

“Janet has really pushed me into directing, and has wanted me to take over the reins for a while,” said Sandoval.

Cameron Merrihew, Austin Berry and Aaron Ortega are the three actors in the play.

It is a very hands-on experience. Merrihew said, “The script is hilarious and interesting in the sense that the works of Shakespeare can be made so comedic.” While Ortega said, “My theater teacher in high school made us watch this play twice a year, and to be in the play is like life going full circle.”

Directing takes time and effort, “it takes 8 weeks to put on a play, there is a lot of blocking and rehearsing that goes on,” explained Sandoval, “By week five the actors will be off their books, at least they should be.”

The play has only three actual characters and three dressers.

The cast agreed that the dressers are the backbone of the play. Bianca Lopez, Sangrae Cho and Leslie Robles are in charge of handing the actors props throughout the play, “We have to know the script better than the actors,” said Lopez.

The role of the dressers is extremely important. There is no swordfight, without swords. How would Hamlet deliver his iconic soliloquy without a skull in his hand. “To be, or not to be” would lose its impact.

Dressers work can be strenuous and when it comes to their hard work, Berry said, “I can’t do it.”

Learning lines can seem difficult, but Ortega said,”Depending on the play, it is actually the easiest part.”

And as the actors continue to prepare for the play, they have submerged themselves on every scene. “Act I is very easy going,” said Robles. In the second act of the play, the play moves faster, and even backward. “Act II goes really fast, you need to be careful and make sure you grab the right props,” said Cho.

Though the works of Shakespeare can be hard for some to swallow, the play offers comedic relief to our traumatic memories of high school English. With the elimination of the “fourth wall,” the play is interactive.

If you are looking to bring out your inner thespian this is a play you would want to attend. “We need lots of crowds, they are part of the play,” said Ortega.

If you would like to see and be part of “the Complete Works of Shakespeare (Abridged)” join the cast on opening night in Theatre Too, located next to the SOC building on the Palm Desert campus.